GLG Life Tech Corporation (GLG) has introduced its new stevia leaf strain, Huinong 1. The new stevia leaf strain will be used in the company's 2009 stevia crop. The new strain is a highly durable breed possessing world high levels of Rebaudioside A. The company anticipates that through the use of the naturally propagated new strain (non-GMO) will increase cost efficiencies and increase yield per ton of raw leaf.
The development of new strain was led by GLG chief agricultural scientist, Wang Qibin.
In addition, the Company continues to conduct training and education sessions with local farmers, which include cultivation techniques for the new breed of leaf, in several key growing areas. Planting for one area in Mingguang City alone for the Huinong 1 strain will include at least 30,000 mu (or around 5,000 acres).
The five steps to bring a commercially viable leaf strain to market include 1) identification of the high RA seed or seedling, 2) cultivation, 3) propagation and 4) commercial plot testing. In 2008, GLG performed commercial plot tests in three different areas harvesting over 1,000 metric tons of Huinong 1 leaf. Based on the successful completion of these first four steps, each of which require one year, the Company then moved to step 5) commercial growth.
GLG is working with local farmers as stevia leaf can provide farmers with more income than some other traditional crops. The company anticipates planting 2.5 billion seedlings in 2009, including the new Huinong 1 strain. GLG has constructed processing facilities and opened buying centers directly in the two major stevia growing regions in China, deemed exclusive to GLG through 10-year agreements granted by the Chinese government. This allows farmers easy access to GLG buying agents during the harvest season and gives the company control of around 80% of the high quality raw stevia leaf supply in China.
GLG chairman and chief executive officer Luke Zhang stated, The leaf is a vital component in the stevia extraction and production process. Through our breeding program, GLG will be able to realize cost efficiencies using our proprietary extraction technology and specially bred stevia leaf strains which provide higher yield. GLG’s continual emphases on research and development and strong government relations have enabled us to provide a stevia seedling unlike any in the world. Further, we are able to provide these seedlings to experienced stevia farmers in some of the best growing areas on the planet which are exclusive to GLG. The Huinong 1 new leaf strain is expected to further our leading position in the industry and provide us superior leaf quality for next year’s harvest.